Is it really possible to convert podcast fans into active subscribers? Compared to most other media, podcast subscribers are some of the most passive subscribers out there. Most would likely just pick your episodes that interest them the most. Even binge listeners don’t necessarily take action and do business with you, whatever it is you’re doing. So how is it possible to turn them into active subscribers that seek out what you have to offer? Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard delve into this topic and provide some best practices that they have seen in other podcasts or that they have practiced in their own shows. Tune in and learn how to play the subscriber game right in the podcasting world!
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Can You Really Convert Podcast Fans Into Active Subscribers?
We have a great topic for you. We are going to talk about how you can convert podcast fans into active subscribers. It is more than active subscribers. It is about converting audiences in some way, shape, or form to being more than subscribers whom you don’t know about because you don’t know who your subscribers are, who are subscribed through Apple, Spotify, or whatever app they use.
I’m going to be on Alesia Galati’s podcast Listeners To Leads. I’m going to be recording that with her. That is this ID here. We are not talking about active subscribers are leads. They are leads that you are going to do something with. Many of you want your show to lead generate for you. I hear that again and again. Here is the reality of it. Most of you don’t know what to do with it. You don’t know how to do it. You don’t know how you are going to get them from the podcast to your list.
That in and of itself is the first part that I want to tackle now because that is the biggest problem, that they have no concept that, “I’m going to start a podcast. It is going to have these subscribers, and they are my community.” Unless they are on your list and you can reach out to them outside of Apple, Spotify, and other apps, they are not your leads. They don’t belong to you. They may be consuming your content, but they don’t belong to you. The only thing you could do is podcast to them.
That is tough for most new podcasters to wrap their heads around. They were like, “What do you mean they are not my listeners? They are listening to me.” That is true. They are listening to you. You put your content out there in the whole ecosystem and all those apps. They can listen to you, but they are not yours in terms of a user.
You don’t have their email address. You don’t know anything about them. You don’t know their gender if you want to know that. You maybe know where in the world they might be, but you don’t have a lot of information on them. That is because you haven’t gotten them off your show and somewhere else. What happens if you take them off your show? I get this all the time. It was like, “I invite them to my Instagram and TikTok.” They are still not yours. The only way they become yours is when they come to your website and they enter your list.
Let’s talk about that for a moment because something that isn’t necessarily understood by all podcasters is that, “No, I send them to my Facebook page and Instagram.” That is great. You have done a huge favor to Instagram when you do that. You have increased activity on their platform. You have sent people from the app over to that social platform.
They are going to connect or communicate with you there. That is good, helpful, and better than having them be passively listening to your content in the listening app. Wouldn’t it be better if they went over to your website or domain in a place where they might trade their name and email for something of value from you? That is the next level.
More connection to you and more content. There is always something more you can provide for them. We are going to talk about that in a minute because that is a third major component here. The idea is that subscribers are a lot more passive. Podcast subscribers are more passive than any other form of media. I subscribe to you, and I forget that I’m subscribed to you. It pushes to my phone, and I go, “Maybe I will listen now.” That is how it works in a subscriber base. I was like, “That topic caught my eye. I’m going to listen now. I love your show. I’m not going to miss it. I’m going to listen to every episode. When I see it pop up on my phone, I’m there. I’m listening. I’m checking it out.”
That is maybe a little bit more of what we call a binge listener or an active subscriber. They are still not taking any action. Getting them off of the listening app is extremely difficult. Podcast listeners listen for a reason. They are researching, consuming content, and doing it for their purposes and reason. They love it because it is not pushing in their face. They are choosing to get it pushed to them if it is pushed at all.
That is a big difference in mindset. That means they are highly likely not to be the best community members on Instagram. They don’t like the consumption of media. They don’t like having things forced on them. When you get over to Instagram, TikTok, or any of these other places, that platform controls the algorithm of who sees what. Unless I actively pick in Facebook to have every notification you make sent to me, it won’t happen. I get maybe 10% to 13%. You put yourself in a place at which you can’t get their attention. It is harder.
The only place you are in control of that is your website and list. That is where we want to drive them. What are some ways that you have heard about from some of our clients that we have done different ways, but what are some ways that we drive them off the podcast and into our website? We used to talk about this WTFFF?!, the first show we ever did. We used to do short videos that would be like time-lapse videos of things in 3D printing. We would say, “You can only get that by going to our website.” We didn’t send them to YouTube, Instagram, or anywhere else. We sent them to our website to see how this thing they have heard about looks printing. Wouldn’t you go check it out?
You are providing more, not the same thing, but added value. There is more to the story. There is something behind the scenes. There is a resource that is relevant to what was talked about in the episode. You need to provide more information, something additional of value for them. What is in it for them to leave that app and go to your website? That is one level.
What you were talking about is seeing something and consuming some other piece of content not in the app that they can’t consume there. That is wonderful. There is more to the story there, but that is not going to get them to identify themselves as who they are. I would do that. I would have more content, more to the story, and more for them to experience more value in the website, usually in a blog post for that episode. You need to create a way, something of value they can get from your website that isn’t go and look at it, something they need to download maybe.
It is an okay path for you to send them to your website to look at something that is cool and different and have that be in the sidebar. As our good friend Dustin Mathews calls it, an irresistible offer made to them in the sidebar, a popup that happens on. I’m not a fan of the popup that happens the first moment you come into a website, but I have seen a time when you are sitting there for a couple of minutes then it pops up.
That is always good because they have consumed and seen something of interest. They go, “Maybe I will subscribe. I will get that download of a file, something interesting, or an eBook.” Whatever that might be, popping it up a little bit later can be useful. I like to get them because I’m not a big fan of saying, “Join my list.” Being obvious that that is what you are doing. That sounds greedy. It is not in keeping with the spirit of my show, to begin with, which is in service. Sending them to get something more, as Tom put it, getting more something that is not available on the app is valuable. I do want to deliver that to them and serve up the opportunity for even more if they belong to the community.
Offering people to join your list without providing what is in it for them to join the list. What is this list going to do? You are going to try to sell me stuff. Are you ever going to email me anything? Some people do newsletters. If you do a good one and people know it or get used to it, that could be a value. Joining a list for the sake of joining a list is not how I would do it. I would say, “Here is this thing of value I want to provide you.” I will use an example in a moment of what we do on our website. It is a good example, although it is not something everybody can do.The people who listen to your podcast are still not yours. The only way they become yours is when they come to your website and they enter your list. Click To Tweet
Let’s say you have a checklist for something. Maybe it is a podcast recording checklist if you are for podcasters, or if you are a tax accountant, it is a prep for taxes and checklist, or who knows what it could be, and many different things. It could be a downloadable PDF, but in order for them to get it, they have to enter their name and email and opt-in to your list. There is a good reason why they might be willing to do it, not only to get that thing of value but, “If you want to be notified when there is an update to that thing of value, you want to stay subscribed.” You got to have a good reason why.
That is where I see this go wrong. This is the second piece I want to talk about with what it is. We want to drive them from the show to our site because that is where we are going to be able to have their attention only beyond us and not the puppies and cute kid pictures that are on Instagram. We want them only there because we are concentrated, and we know they have an interest, or they wouldn’t have come through. There is something of interest to them. We want to keep them there. That is important.
We also need to give them an irresistible offer or something of value. Here is where it typically goes wrong. Most people do not have their email system and funnel set up with anything of value or even systematized. In other words, they can’t even figure out what they are going to do with anything. They have an email capture form, but they never even get the emails off of it into a list somewhere. It is sitting there weirdly on their website under the forms section. I have seen it often that they don’t even know they have 50 people subscribed. They are not doing anything with it.
I am a fan of not asking. Don’t ask them to come and join your list. Don’t make a popup. Don’t do those things unless you are ready to do something with it because it becomes outdated fast email addresses. The whole way that works becomes outdated quickly if you are not taking advantage of it at the moment. Be prepared. Have your system and irresistible offer in place. Figure out what that is. Here is where I see it also go wrong. I did this. I went through it because I wanted to compare another podcaster’s template to mine. I already have one. I wanted to see if mine was better. Maybe mine was outdated. I was doing a little research.
Template for what?
I’m not going to share that now because it is a template for something you might use as a podcaster. I wanted to make sure I had the most updated one. I went to their website because I remembered hearing them on their podcast say they had this download. There is a nice little landing page with details about what is in it. It sounded cool. I clicked it, put my email address in, and got the form the PDF, got it delivered to my email, and downloaded the site because you could do that. I got it and read it. It wasn’t great, but it worked. I think mine was better, but it was at least what I needed it to do.
Here is the thing. I immediately unsubscribed, and I didn’t do that because I was done with my research. I did it because he didn’t give me any compelling additional offer. I didn’t know what else I was going to get to stay on his list. He didn’t tell me anything but that one thing, the value, what else I could expect from him.
There was some uncertainty as to why I should stay on his list.Wouldn't it be better if your podcast listeners went over to your website or domain in a place where they might trade their name and email for something of value from you? That is the next level. Click To Tweet
I immediately unsubscribed because I didn’t need any more emails. That is crazy. Who wants to make themselves have more emails? I did it immediately. That is a miss in and of itself, not knowing where you are going and not giving them a fear of missing out on what could be in the next email. We also don’t always do that so well on our show. We don’t get them to be excited about what they could be missing by not checking out our website and not tuning into the next episode.
Leading them through that process and understanding what that looks like, even if you don’t have it all figured out, but you are stacking it on and at least figured out maybe a couple of emails in the future, is critically important to make sure you create something sticky. They cannot feel right about unsubscribing. They are afraid to unsubscribe from it.
I’m thinking of a couple of podcasters because there have been some people I have interacted with that have podcasts in the mortgage space. They are speaking to other mortgage lenders or loan officers. One of them has this weekly mortgage update. I can imagine the promise of, “What are the latest news, info, or key things you need to know as a mortgage professional.” That may be a good reason why you might subscribe and stay subscribed to a weekly mortgage update because you are in the business, and you can’t afford not to know.
Even if you think you have the latest information, you don’t want to miss out on what your competitors know. That is the thing. We used to have something in the contract furniture industry. We used to get weekly fax on Mondays.
Monday Morning Quarterback. I remember the fax.
It was the MMQB. In the Monday Morning Quarterback, it would get faxed to everyone who was in the contract furniture industry.
It was crazy. I don’t know how they sent those group faxes, but it was sent out to thousands of people in the industry.
It was bigger than that because it went to every fax machine within a company. When I worked for Herman Miller, every machine would spit that out on Monday mornings at 8:00 AM. Everyone would run over to the copy machine and start reading it because you wanted to know what was going on in the industry. You didn’t want to miss that out. News and timely information are not great on a podcast because it is not a bingeable thing. It is a one-and-done. If I miss it on Monday, it will be outdated by the time I get to it on Friday. I’m not going to bother to listen.When you hit on something that works, double down, and try it again because if it doesn't work consistently, it is not a solution. Click To Tweet
It is a great way for you to use your newsletter, a flash update, or do something like that where you are sending them a quick email with these things they might want to know and deep dive into. That is critically important for you to think this through and how you are going to make what you provide valuable and irresistible so that they will hit subscribe. They will give you their email address and stay subscribed. If they don’t stay subscribed, what is the point?
In the context of a business-related show where you are prospecting. You are mining audiences for prospects. Getting their email address once, even if they unsubscribe from the list. If I had a sales offer, I could still send an individual email to them. I got their email in my CRM.
By law, you can’t because they hit unsubscribe. From an individual to an individual, you can do that. You can send an email out, but theoretically, you are supposed to purge their email from your system. That is the way the GDPR law is. You should be taking that out of your system altogether and not sending any solicitation emails. That is not the case. Most people violate that because you are getting around it by not sending a mass mailing, a sequence, or a marketing email. You are doing a one-on-one, which is technically allowed, but they did ask not to be emailed by you, and you have chosen to violate that. How receptive to your email are they going to be? That is a question.
That is going to be different in every situation.
Getting them on your list and keeping them on your list is not the same thing, either. We talked about this. I want to recap. Getting them from your show to your site is the critical number one thing you need to do. Providing them with something irresistible that they want to hit subscribe and join your list is number two. We got to figure out what that was. Number three is making sure you have a system for keeping them on that list, engaged, and keeping them there, and a system of where you are going to use that. You are going to use that list and do something with it that is going to be valuable for you and your business.
Those are the three major components that we were talking about. That is the way you convert fans into active subscribers who become real legitimate leads for your business and everything you might want to do in your community. The other thing is I do want you to think carefully about the audience and their personality. I touched on it briefly. Listeners are not as likely as others to be excited by downloading a PDF and reading a long sales form page. They are not readers. When you see those long sales pages with the PDF at the bottom, they are not those people. That is not their media type.
It is like those direct-response marketing emails type of thing.
Yes, the long emails and sales pages. This is not their personality. Make sure that you are aligning what you are providing in a format that is appealing to your podcast listeners. You should know what is working, assuming you are not brand new and only got 1 or 3 episodes in. As you go forward, you should start to see what is resonating with them. Are the shorter episodes resonating or the longer ones? Take those things and start to understand the personality of your listener because not everything is going to work.
Here is the one thing we know. This show is a client base. They are action-takers. They do not want to watch a long webinar. They don’t want to read lengthy sales. They don’t want a seven-step process. They want one-and-done. We gear everything we do to make sure to deliver that. Even when we send them an email sequence, we still make sure to deliver that.
The second thing we do is we overserve. We make sure that we are giving them so much for free before they have to subscribe and do something where they have to give us their trust because we are going to say, “We are going to trust you first and we know that you are going to achieve results. When you achieve results, you are going to want to be a part of our community.” What we do is we say, “That is how we are going to put it out there.” That is how we chose to show up because we understand our audience and clients better.
We understand that is what they require because there is a lot of skepticism and distrust because there is a lot of abuse that goes on in the direct response marketing industry and, in general, in the media. We decided to do it in the opposite way. Be thinking carefully about your listeners when you do this because this doesn’t follow the same formula that email marketers go out there and say. Your people you are getting there, if you are getting them off of the podcast, are not necessarily email people. You want to make sure you are matching that up.
It is a good suggestion. Email is only one method. A lot of people are doing text or other means of communication. It is a good idea to provide different options and meet people on how they want to be connected. This topic is about how to get them converted over to the website. This is a sister topic to this eventually about all the different methods you can use, what the payoff is, and what value to provide the audience that will get them to trade that name and email and join the list. There are dozens of different things you can do.
That is hard for us to cover here in a topic because it is specific to your industry and audience base, but here is where you test it. Here is a great way to test it. That is the fantastic thing about the podcast is in one week, I test for them to take this action, and in the next week, I test a different one. We found out that those time-lapse videos were hugely attractive. Everybody wanted to see them, and not just that. They see and share them on social media. They were a great circulation for getting more audience to our show. We didn’t have to do anything but make sure that that was there on the website and in the blog post for them.
We didn’t have to work that hard at it to make it sticky. That is an awesome find for us. It worked. We tried a bunch of things, and that’s what worked. Keep experimenting. That is a great part of it. You can change it up, try it into something different in the next episode, and see what happens. When you hit on something that works, double down, and try it again because if it doesn’t work consistently, it is not a solution.
Let’s leave it there. Thanks so much for reading, everybody. We will be back next time with another great episode.